Dubuque, IA asked in Child Support for New Jersey

Q: I am unemployed , lost income due to Covid-19. I have tried paying child support best I can but I no longer able. Help

I need help to submit a modification request in New New Jersey. I live out of state. My kids are both In college and not at home. I was hoping the situation and pandemic would turn around for I have no ability to maintain those payments.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Paul Ylvisaker
Paul Ylvisaker

A: I recommend you go to the child support services office of the state whee the children live and open a case to request modification of your child support. Most agencies have online/telephonic services to some extent that can assist you with application process. Your biggest challenge will the timing of getting this done. The biggest asset is that the state’s services are no cost. The biggest downside is the order remains in place until the Court modifies the obligation.

Be aware, your income in large part is what drives the amount, not your expenses. Assuming the children you are putting through college are not the children you are paying child support on, it may not effect your child support obligation. If you ask for relief and your income has increased from the last order, your obligation can increase.

Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Millburn, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Your setting is unfortunate ( politely said) but the filing of an application for downward modification is a very important one and if done wrong, will have material consequences to you. Translated, if you screw it up, you cant then simply hire a lawyer to refile it correctly since the refiling will be viewed as an application for reconsideration - meaning there are limitations on what can be included in that application. To file an application with the court for modification of your support obligation, you must submit a certification ( typed statement under oath) which needs to lay out the history of your employment setting at the time of the divorce, your ex's income setting at the divorce ( or the income imputed to her then), your current employment setting, when you were terminated, why you were terminated and what you have done since then ( week by week) to find replacement employment, detailing every application, every person you spoke with, every resume or on line submission sent out, what offers you have received for replacement employment - showing the good faith nature of your employment search. And you need to submit your case information statement used by you in the divorce and you need to submit a current case information statement - failure to submit both documents is a proper basis for the judge to deny you relief. As to the certification, it is not a simple 1-2 page submission with you scratching out information in a bullet format. It is the same as if you were on the witness stand testifying and presume that your certification is going to be about 20 pages in length in clear paragraph format with headings and organization. The documents ( case information statements, tax returns, pay stubs, emails, text message material ) are exhibits to be submitted with the certification and the notice of motion. A duplicate copy of your submission must also be sent to your ex with proof of your submission provided to the court. You also need to go to the judiciary's website to file your papers and pay the filing fee. It is a process but if you want to handle it yourself, you need to do it correctly or you simply wasted your time and money. While your financial resources may be very tight, it probably makes better sense to hire the family law specialist to file it so that you have a better shot at getting relief from the court.

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